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CONCLUSION: OMNICHANNEL, READY OR NOT
Omnichannel is inevitable—no matter the retailer, some degree of omnichannel will be in demand. In this paper, we’ve identified three major contributors to a hindrance in omnichannel adoption:
Lack of Inventory Visibility
Inventory visibility is integral to the success of any omnichannel initiative, as access to inventory is necessary to sales, no matter the channel. Additionally, customers have grown to expect realtime inventory visibility across all channels—‘out -of-stock’ is now an unacceptable response. As in-store omnichannel offerings evolve, unified technology supporting cross-channel inventory visibility—and consequently, complete product accessibility for customers—will become as important as maintaining inventory within the physical store itself.
Lack of Proven Market Value
The 54% of retailers claiming augmented reality is a passing fad, and the 27% who claim they don’t ever plan on using it, reveal some truths about this technology’s place in retail—as do the 42% of retailers planning to invest in in-store pickup in the next 12 months, and the 53% who are already offering it.
While hesitance to invest in augmented reality is understandable, retailers also show hesitance investing on other emerging technologies, such as same-day delivery—a service that will soon “become a commodity,” according to the Wall Street Journal—in which at least 21% of retailers don’t plan to invest or implement, or are waiting to see how others fare first.
Lack of Systems Integrations Supporting Omnichannel Retail
Depending on the omnichannel in-store technology in question, from 39% to 54% of respondents claim their technology won’t support it, and from 28% to 66% claim their organizations are not ready to implement them. But while many retailers struggle with adoption, smart retailers are studying their customers, creating buyer personas, determining which offerings they truly want, and developing strategies for investing in the right technologies and omnichannel initiatives.
They are taking a holistic view of their retail practice—across inventory, operations, sales, and service—and determining the technologies to implement based on their findings. Instead of looking at other retailers and competitors, they are studying new technologies and deciding whether it will support the initiatives that meet the needs of their own customers and prospects, as well as deliver on the performance needs of the organization. After all, one retailer’s ‘same-day delivery’ is another retailer’s ‘augmented reality.’ Finally, they are making smart technology investments based on their strategy for delivering the best customer experience possible, across all of their retail channels, including in-store. Omnichannel in-store technologies are emerging to support the needs of retailers across sectors, and deliver on the complex demands of their evolving customers. It starts with inventory visibility—join the 14% of retailers who can say they have complete visibility, accuracy and trust of their inventory across their locations, enterprise-wide.